Scoop: Packer’s mate backs his casino bid. As Crikey has reported previously, James Packer has been getting a dream run in the media for his plans to build a $1 billion luxury hotel/casino at Barangaroo. The Australian Financial Review ups the ante today by trumpeting an “exclusive” interview with Lawrence Ho, the co-chairman of Melco Crown — a joint venture with James Packer.
Remarkably, Ho supports his business partner’s Barangaroo plans, saying a harbour-side casino is likely to appeal to Chinese tourists. Readers who make it to the end of the article discover that reporter Nabila Ahmed stayed at Crown Towers Macau courtesy of Melco Crown. — Matthew Knott
Melbourne Money to revive TT. Neil Money will return to Melbourne to run the new-look Today Tonight from late January, with former Ten newsreader Helen Kapalos as host.
Mooney is currently living north of Brisbane where he is running Seven Queensland, the network’s best performing business (it dominates the still vibrant regional Queensland market). It had been thought Mooney would combine both roles, but senior Seven sources say Mooney will head south to oversee a revival of TT after its ratings slide in 2012. According to Oztam viewing data, Today Tonight’s national audience fell 10.5% to 1.068 million in official ratings this year from 1.194 million in 2011. That was a fall of 126,000, and the average was the lowest it has been since the Oztam ratings system started in 2011. ACA’s ratings rose 33,000 or just over 3.4% to 1 million, from 967,000 in 2011. That rise came at the expense of TT.
Mooney is originally from Melbourne and moved to Sydney for Nine two decades ago. Brisbane news boss Rob Raschke, named as Peter Meakin’s successor as network news boss, will shift to Sydney for the role but will no doubt be a frequent visitor to Melbourne given the ratings-challenged 6pm bulletin there. — Glenn Dyer
Media stocks down: Ten, SC of course. Shares in Southern Cross Austereo and the Ten Network fell sharply this morning, for differing reasons.
The SC Austero shares dropped more than 8% at the start of trading because of the perceived danger of financial losses flowing from the public backlash and cancelled advertising after the apparent suicide of a London nurse involved in that prank call by two hosts from 2DayFM in Sydney, the group’s most important station. The shares fell 8.1% at the start and around 11am were down 7.7% at $1.02. And after the first stage of its $230 million cash issue, Ten shares dropped 24.6% to 24c at the opening. They are now trading around 25c. The issue was made at 20c a share. — Glenn Dyer
Video of the day. Today marks 20 years since Paul Keating’s iconic Redfern Address to launch the Year of the World’s Indigenous People. Crikey asked Keating if he would like to write for us to mark the occasion, but his spokesperson said “he thinks the Redfern Speech stands on its own and if commentary is to be made about it, it is for others”.